‘White Dog’ by Peter Temple


2003, 337 p.

I think I’m just going to have to admit that I don’t really like Peter Temple’s books very much.  I’m already ambivalent about the fictional crime genre and Temple’s books, with their abbreviated dialogue and huge range of incidental characters, just confuse me.  I looked back at my review of Truth, another of his novels, and I could just as easily cut-and-paste the comments that I made about that book into this review too.

Just to add to the confusion, the ABC has recently screened another Jack Irish series that uses some parts of White Dog, but not the whole book. So not only did I have Guy Pearce firmly embedded in my head (no hardship, I must say) but I found myself half remembering some aspects of the plot and misremembering others that appeared in the television show only.

Like the other Jack Irish novels, White Dog is steeped in local Melbourne colour, very familiar to north-of-the-Yarra inner suburban Melburnians (as I am). However, it’s a rather curmudgeonly approach, dismissive of hipsters and all-day breakfasts and harking back to a 1980-1990s cool, and even further back to the glory days of Fitzroy Football Club.  It’s all thoroughly recognizable to a Melburnian but I don’t know that it would add much for readers elsewhere.

So all in all, not a particularly successful read.

Sourced from: CAE bookgroups

My rating: 6.5

7 responses to “‘White Dog’ by Peter Temple

  1. I’m not sure I’d bother reading Peter Temple, but, and this applies to Corris too, I really enjoy listening to them while I work

  2. I do enjoy Temple but I binged last year and I’m sorry that I did – the template became clear after reading several in a row. Damaged alpha male leaves stressful job, takes up blokey hobby (stonemason, forging iron, cabinet-making), has attractive women throw themselves at him without prompting, and gets caught up in resolving a dark crime. And yet I’ll still buy the next one… go figure!

  3. *snap*, Michelle, that’s what bored me with the one that won the MF, a pitiful choice given what else was on offer that year.

  4. Husband doesn’t like his “abbreviated dialogue” either (but he’s only read “Truth”). I didn’t mind that but I thought “Truth” had too many characters to follow. I really liked “The broken shore”. It has remained quite vivid in my brain years after reading it. I liked “Truth” less. I don’t mind awards being shaken up every now and then by something out of the blue though I would have been happier if it had been Temple’s “The broken shore” that did it. I have no drive to read Temple’s crime series – but then I rarely read crime and never seek it out.

    That said, Lisa, I do think “Truth” was somewhat different from to template that Michelle describes.

    So, a reading group read? Did the ladies who go ooh (or, was it ah)? like it?

  5. I started one of his books in the past (can’t remember which one) but didn’t get more than 20 pages in. I do like the occasional genre crime fiction, and did read a bit of it at one stage. Perhaps it wasn’t the right time, but maybe I just didn’t like it? It will probably be quite some time before I try him again.

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